Yesterday was challenge and an eye-opener for me for a couple of reasons. First, we are just entering the play, and I did not anticipate the difficulty level of the language (even though I've taught this play before!). Second, we are reading it electronically on our chromebooks 1:1, which sounds good in theory, but which creates some getting used to! Third, it's May, and I need to use all of my craft to keep the class engaged, since we have done some heavy lifting already this year, and there is a feeling of being "done" already!
Thus, today we begin with a quiz, ACT 1.2; not for a ton of points or grade impact, but as a focusing agent and a diagnostic for me to see what they were able to pick up in our first lesson. I play to allow the students time to do a reasonably good job, but more to let them know that this is important.
At the end of the lesson, I will give them a bit more time to add comments to their quiz based on what they have learned and on their work in the small groups.
Ethos/Pathos/Logos. I will ask the students what they know about these three appeals and will elicit from the definitions that I will put on the board. In the past, I've spent a lot of time on these three words, but I don't plan to make our Rhetorical Reading of this play too focused on identifying them: instead, I will ask students to examine the figurative language per se (RL.9-10.4) and how the character/speaker uses these word choices, figurative language, rhetorical questions, repetitions, tone, etc., to promote a message and to shape the audience's response (L.9-10.5 and L.9-10.3). We are just beginning to tip the unit in that direction today.
I will ask: "What do you know about logical appeals? Emotional appeals? Testimonials? What seem to be the most effective on you? Which do you use among your friends and family?"
Large Group Discussion with Online Note Taking. We will read the opening of Cassius's message to Brutus in 1.2 together as a class, but the difference is that I will have the students create base groups first, create a document and share it among them and me, and then participate in the group reading by taking interpretive notes together. I can then read their notes after class to see how they were tracking with me both in the discussion and in the group work that will follow.
Group Notes mock up. I will project a live google doc from one of the groups, as in this Student Comments on Act 1 scene 2 and in this sample screen capture. They will add to this doc as will I. Like yesterday, I will begin by doing the reading and explaining, but the students will have the added accountability of making notes on the doc while this is going on. Also, immediately afterward, they will try their hands at this and do a new section of Cassius's speech, adding 2 questions and 2 paraphrasing comments to their group's notes. Of course, will assess each individual's contributions to the group document as well as the group's progress as a whole. In subsequent lessons, I plan to circle back on students who seem to be having trouble. In this way, we will leverage a sort of group-supported think-aloud session first and then get group practice second. The main goal is to understand WHAT Cassius is saying (RL.9-10.1), what about his character is leading him to say it (RL.9-10.3) and what tone he is using to convey his message (RI.9-10.6) as well as briefly acknowledging the literary flair of such similes as "like a Colossus (L.9-10.5).
At the end of class, I will ask the students to return to their quizzes from the opening of class and add what they now know. This gives them accountability but also a constructive approach.